By Tephyr Copyright: 2003, 2012 S. Tephyr Burgess Mugwort photo copyright K.Shelton
Botanical name: Artemisia vulgaris
Common names: Mugwort, Moxa, Travelers Herb, Artemis Herb, Felon Herb, Muggons, Old Man, Sailors Tobacco. Cingulum Sancti Johannis aka St. Johns plant (NOT St. Johnswort).
Habitat and growing conditions:
Mugwort grows almost everywhere around the world. If you look as you travel Mugwort is everywhere around us here in the Northeast, USA. She grows in all the waste places through out our cities and particularly along all the roadways. I don't believe this is an accident. For two reasons: The first being Mugwort protects the traveler and so she hugs our road ways, watching out for us. The second: In these times of rushing around and living totally in the physical experience, Human Kind has never needed the gifts of Mugwort more. We need her gifts of Dreaming to bring us into the Spirit Realm and teach us to live in balance in both the Spirit and the Physical.
Conversely she will bring those lost in the Spirit world back into the Physical. This? also means that Mugwort will help those of us who are considered "spacey" to become more "grounded" as well.?
Can be intrusive in a garden. Grows up to 8 feet in The Garden. Look for it that tall as well as low as 18" in city lots and road sides.
For medicinal, metaphysical and culinary purposes cut stems with leaves early in the day; after the sun has burned the dew off but before the heat of the day. Always feel free to attune to the individual plant as to when it is the optimal time for harvest; keeping in mind if the plant is damp it can easily get moldy when drying.
For ornamental: any time needed.
Please read my article Conscious Harvesting.
Can be dried for either medicinal, metaphysical, culinary or ornamental purposes.
Take bundles of stems with leaves and remove the lower leaves for about 3 4".
Do not wash in water; if they are wet they are likely to get moldy.
Check over the plants for obvious dirt and insects. and remove those leaves.
Take several bundles (not too many or there will not be enough air circulation), tie with string or a rubber band and hang upside down in a cool room out of direct light. Normal room temperature is fine; just no hot dry rooms or damp rooms. It will take several days to a week or so to dry completely. You may leave them there longer, as they are very attractive but not so long that they become dirty with dust or become too dry.
Take the bundles down, when dry, and pull off the leaves and place in a large bowl. "Scrunch" the leaves up to crumble them some and then place in air tight glass jars.
Store in a room or cupboard out of direct light in a dry room.
You can take the leafless stems and bundle them up and tie them with strings and use them as kindling for wood stoves; I like to use them for building Sacred Fires. (Just be sure you want her attributes included in your Ritual)
You can also roll leaves and stems into Smudge sticks (see my article on making your own Smudge sticks).
Try gathering the dew in the early morning and store it in jars with 1/3 to ? 80 to 100 proof alcohol or drink immediately. The effects would be similar to the Flower Essence. Water can also be used in the making of Magical elixirs.
Medicinal: leaves. Ornamental: leaves and flowers. Metaphysical: leaves and flowers. (if you are consuming use the leaves only). Culinary: leaves.
Properties: Chologogue, vermifuge, emmenagogue, hemostatic, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, mild narcotic, bitter narcotic. Womans Moon and a Dream Herb.
Body Systems affected: Spleen, kidney, liver.
Metaphysical: Tea or tincture twice daily to enhance your psychic abilities. (see below for amounts)
Medicinal: One teaspoon per cup for infusion. 5 20 drops tincture.
Mugwort can also be smoked for either medicinal or metaphysical purposes.
Chemical Constituents: Thujone, cineole. A volatile oil. Acrid resin and tannin.
Flower Essence: Artemisia douglasiana, a close relative of Artemisia vulgaris is used. Used for clarity in dream work. Helps us to interpret our dreams and merge the knowledge and insights gained in dreams and any spiritual/magickal work into our every day lives. Helps to regulate menstrual cycles in time with the Moon. Add to massage oil and worked into the womb area to ease childbirth and menstrual problems.
Homeopathic: Artemisia vulgaris. Epilepsy, petit mal, hysteria, over excitement and fright, sleepwalking, some types of dizziness. Irregular, painful or scanty menses. Prolapsed uterus. To prevent miscarriage with severe cramping.
This is one of my favorite metaphysical herbs. I grow a hedge of it in The Garden between the main garden and the rose arbors. (alas; this part of The Garden no long exists due to my inability to keep up with the work. It will be restored. Good news is the Mugwort and others are still in there; just gone wild)
It is said to enhance whatever level of dreaming one is developed in. For example, if one can not remember ones dreams, Mugwort will enhance and help the individual to develop this. If one is at the next level of dreaming, cognitive dreaming: (being aware one is dreaming and being able to "manipulate" the dream at will) Mugwort will enhance this.
The final level is precognitive dreaming; dreaming of future events.
No matter what level one is dreaming Mugwort will help you to develop your abilities. But beware, for until you become proficient your dreams may, at first, be difficult to deal with. Don't be discouraged; practice makes perfect. If you desire you might study under an experienced Dreamer or Shaman. Keeping a journal would be advantageous.
I have heard people say that their dreams become "techni-colored" after taking Mugwort.
Mugwort is also used as a Warding herb (to repel/banish) negative energies, entities/spirits, wild beasts, weariness.
Mugwort in your shoes will help keep your strength up in long walks and generally protect you during a journey (hence the name Travelers herb).
Used for smudging and incense in the same manner as the other Artemisia and Salvias. Burn near your bed before sleep for protection and dream enhancement. A good herb for clearing negativity from the home.
It is my feeling that when used as a smudge during house clearing it leaves a bit of "Magical" energy behind. I believe it will bring Magic closer into your lifestyle when used this way. I believe every act we perform is on some level, a Magical one and so Mugwort enhances this. Whether you're doing actual Ritual Magic or Mundane Magic (cooking, washing dishes, etc.), burning Mugwort nearby or before starting will heighten your work.
Other uses: Stuff pillows with the herb for Dream Pillows.
Store dry herb with your scrying tools as well as any tools you use for Dreaming/Journey work, such as drums, beater sticks and rattles. Oil made from fresh can be used to anoint these objects also. An infusion (strong tea) can be used to wash them.
Make swags or wreaths from dry or fresh branches to place over your doors for protection against negative energies. Many believe it will also ward off negative entities.
Toss into a burning fireplace or wood stove and it will protect you from lightening; though if you simply burned it in the fire place or stove by itself I would think you would get the same effect.
Sacred to Dianna and Artemis.
Wear a crown on Midsummer. Throw into fire when done to protect ones self from sickness and danger for the coming year.
Protective of Children.
Though Cunningham refers to her as an Earth energy plant she is known as a Moon plant also in regards to her sacredness to Artemis (Dianna) who is a Moon Goddess. Also from her assistance in womans Menstrual/Moon cycles. Gladstar recommends it as a Dream Herb during a womans Moon Time. Mugwort is also ruled by Venus
Medicinal Uses: An excellent nervine. Used for insomnia and nervousness.
Kills parasitic worms internally.
Mugwort is considered feminine in nature and has been linked through out history has been used as remedy for womens health. It is an emmenagogue; promotes suppressed menses. Drink before and after the full moon and wear red (Gladstar). Useful for young women just starting menses.
Believed to increase fertility.
Used for moxabustion in Chinese Medicine.
Used in treatment of liver disorders and as a digestive aid (digestive bitter). Drink infusion before and/or after eating to promote digestion.
Promotes sweating. Which can be a benefit when intentionally sweating out an illness; a very old healing technique when one first feels the effects of an illness.
Strong infusion can be used in a bath for an invigorating bath or one before Ritual or Dreaming.
Culinary: One of the first herbs to be used to brew beers. Dried leaves only. Apparently fresh leaves? make a horrible tasting beer.
Cautions: Do not use if pregnant.
Though no miscarriage have ever been reported due to its use and in TCM and Homeopathy it is used to prevent miscarriage. Though it is a good rule of thumb to avoid all herbs that are emmenagogue in general when pregnant.
The Way of Herbs Michael Tierra
A Wiccan Herbal Marie Rodway
Cunninghams Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs Scott Cunningham
The Master Book of Herbalism Rev. Paul Beyerl
A Druids Herbal Ellen Evert Hopman
Herbal Healing for Woman Rosemary Gladstar
A Modern Herbal Mrs. M. Grieve F.R.H.S
Flower Power Anne McIntyre